CONFESSION: A few months ago, I could barely jog 10 metres. Now, I run at least 5K every morning. My secret? The Couch-to-5K running app (and it’s FREE)!
Running really helped shape my legs; they look so much better now! I was surprised that running strengthened my core, too, and that’s a bonus for sure. As a couch-potato-turned-runner, I shall now share with you the app that literally transformed my life. Today, you’ll finally learn HOW to start running.
I shall be bold and claim the Couch-to-5K (henceforth referred to as “C25K“) running app to be hands down one of the best things I discovered this year. I’m super excited to share this with you, and I can’t wait for you to try it for yourself.
Are you presently a couch potato? Do you want to take up running, but don’t know where or how to begin? I wrote this post with you in mind. I want to help you.
Downloading the C25K app
There are several C25K apps available at the app store. Just type in “C25K” and you’ll see what I mean! I use the free one made by Zen Labs. Of course there’s nothing to stop you from scouting around and reading reviews to see if there are other better 5K training apps out there! :)
How the C25K running plan works
See, the old adage that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” rings very true for me. I’m a creature of routine and habit; if I were to embark on something and expect myself to succeed, I’ve got to have a solid plan. The C25K running plan is exactly what I needed.
C25K takes you from the couch to 5K in about 9 weeks, via a walk/run training sequence that increases in intensity as you progress through the weeks. I’ll be honest and say that I completed the program in less than 9 weeks because I am a rebel. I like a challenge.
So. During these 9 weeks, you will train only 3 days per week, with each session lasting 30 minutes… which doesn’t sound that bad, right? You should take a rest day between training days to allow your body to recover properly before your next workout. Rest days are especially important; you shouldn’t stress your body out too much with your new exercise routine.
Start every workout with a brisk 5-minute warmup walk.
You begin every workout with a brisk 5-minute warmup walk and end all workouts with a 5-minute cooldown walk.
To start, select Week 1 Day 1, and the app will prompt you to start walking. When you reach the 5-minute mark, the app will tell you to begin running, and when to start walking again. I found this extremely helpful; I don’t have to use a separate stopwatch or watch the time – just listen to the prompts!
Music will play as you work out so be sure to load your iPod with energising songs. It’s going to be incredibly boring if you work out without music. Music keeps me going during my runs and I constantly refresh my list so I don’t listen to the same old tunes over and over again!
The running plan breakdown
Week 1: Alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
Week 2: Alternate 90 seconds of jogging and 2 minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
Week 3: Do 2 repetitions of these – jog for 90 seconds; walk for 90 seconds; jog for 3 minutes; walk for 3 minutes.
Week 4: Jog 3 minutes; walk 90 seconds; jog 5 minutes; walk 2.5 minutes; jog 3 minutes; walk 90 seconds; jog 5 minutes.
Week 5: Day 1 – Jog 5 minutes; walk 3 minutes; jog 5 minutes; walk 3 minutes; jog 5 minutes. Day 2 – Jog 8 minutes; walk 5 minutes; jog 8 minutes. Day 3 – Jog 20 minutes with no walking.
Week 6: Day 1 – Jog 5 minutes; walk 3 minutes; jog 8 minutes; walk 3 minutes; jog 5 minutes. Day 2 – Jog 10 minutes; walk 3 minutes; jog 10 minutes. Day 3 – Jog 22 minutes with no walking.
I bet the happiest part of your workout would be hearing, “Begin your cooldown”…!
Week 7: Jog 25 minutes.
Week 8: Jog 28 minutes. Keep going!
Week 9: Jog 30 minutes. Ta-daa! A 5K runner is born!
One of the most satisfying bits of completing a workout is being able to shout, “I did it!” to the whole world. Go ahead and share your victory with your friends! This may be motivation for you to keep going. :)
Well, it doesn’t count unless you share it with your friends, right? Bragging rights FTW.
I like that the app has everything planned out for you. You really don’t have to worry about the time; when to start, when to stop, when to finish. For every workout you complete, there’s a date note and a tick so you can keep track. The plan works to gradually build up your workout intensity, allowing you to adapt at a reasonable pace.
When I began the program, I really didn’t expect myself to be able to run a straight 5K – not with the program, not in this lifetime. Not ever! However, I saw no harm in giving it a whirl – after all, the app is free. Nobody forced me to do it. I was curious, I tried, I did it. Running 5K daily is now a habit and a superb stress-reliever. Burn calories whilst getting rid of stress and gaining fab legs… for free? I’ll take that.
It’s not going to be easy. During the program I had “Kill me now!” moments. Some days, I felt like giving up. Then I reminded myself of why I started and what it would mean to me if I could complete the program. I would be so proud of you if you even began!
Go ahead, download the app and give Week 1 Day 1 a shot. Remember, your body goes where your mind pushes it. If you think you can, you can. I would love to hear your thoughts on C25K! Let me know?